Coalition Challenges Expansion of Hazardous Herbicide | Pesticide Action Network
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Coalition Challenges Expansion of Hazardous Herbicide

EPA allows nine additional states to use toxic 2,4-D on GE corn and soy crops

For Immediate Release: April 20, 2015

Contact:
Paul Towers, Pesticide Action Network, ptowers@panna.org, 916-216-1082

Paul Achitoff, Earthjustice, 808-599-2436 
Abigail Seiler, Center for Food Safety, 202-547-9359 
Lori Ann Burd, Center for Biological Diversity, 847-567-4052

San Francisco, CA – A coalition of conservation, food safety and public health groups filed a motion today challenging the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)’s decision to expand the use of “Enlist Duo” on genetically engineered (GE) corn and soy crops to nine additional states: Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, Nebraska, Oklahoma and North Dakota.

Earthjustice and Center for Food Safety filed the motion in the United States Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals on behalf of Beyond Pesticides, Center for Biological Diversity, Center for Food Safety, Environmental Working Group, the National Family Farm Coalition and Pesticide Action Network North America. This motion builds on the coalition’s earlier challenge of Enlist Duo, which already includes six Midwestern states where EPA previously approved the herbicide’s use on GE corn and soy crops.

The groups are challenging EPA’s decision to allow the use of Enlist Duo in 15 Midwestern states because of the serious impacts the powerful new herbicide cocktail, which combines glyphosate and 2,4-D, will have on farmworkers, neighboring farms, and ground and surface water, as well as endangered species. For instance, 2,4-D has been linked to serious illnesses like Parkinson’s disease, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and reproductive problems. EPA’s analyses also plainly demonstrate that the herbicide may affect endangered species like the whooping crane, Louisiana black bear and Indiana bat through consumption of prey contaminated with the toxic chemical.  

"Big chemical is profiting by dumping more and more toxins in our air, water and bodies — and killing our endangered wildlife,” said Earthjustice attorney Paul Achitoff.  “Instead of being an environmental watchdog, EPA is playing lapdog and allowing this deadly herbicide to be sprayed on millions of acres without adequate impact assessment. We filed our motion so we can finally stop the cycle of more and more pesticides with less and less oversight.”

 “Our federal regulators have again unlawfully bowed to the chemical industry, rather than protect our communities, land and farms,” said George Kimbrell, Center for Food Safety senior attorney, counsel in the case. “We will continue to defend them vigorously.”

“In expanding its approval for this super-toxic chemical cocktail, EPA has shown an utter disregard for human health, our drinking water, and endangered species like the iconic whooping crane,” said Lori Ann Burd, environmental health director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “EPA has left us with no choice but to go to court.”

“Rural communities rely on EPA to take its job seriously. But in approving Dow’s proposed use of 2,4-D, EPA has failed to protect their health, their vulnerable crops and their livelihoods,” said Marcia Ishii-Eiteman, senior scientist at Pesticide Action Network North America.  “Communities across the Midwest are furious, knowing that they now face unprecedented levels of 2,4-D drift each summer.”
 
EPA approved Enlist Duo to address the epidemic of glyphosate-resistant superweeds that now infest tens of millions of acres of U.S. farmland as a result of overuse of glyphosate on crops genetically engineered to resist the herbicide’s effects. Glyphosate is the active ingredient in Monsanto’s RoundUp and was recently designated a probable carcinogen. Dow Chemical has introduced 2,4-D resistant crops as a quick fix to the problem, allowing farmers to douse their fields with both 2,4-D and glyphosate to kill resistant weeds.

Independent and USDA scientists, however, predict that the Enlist Duo “crop system” will only foster resistance to 2,4-D in addition to glyphosate, continuing the GE crop pesticide treadmill.

States that are now approved to use Enlist Duo on GE corn and soy crops:

  • Arkansas - NEW
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Kansas - NEW
  • Louisiana - NEW
  • Minnesota - NEW
  • Missouri - NEW
  • Mississippi - NEW
  • Nebraska - NEW
  • North Dakota - NEW
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma - NEW
  • South Dakota
  • Wisconsin